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6th Grade: Middle Ages (Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment)
Big Idea
A decline in economy can lead to a stagnate culture while a rise in the economy can lead to a cultural renaissance and reformation.

Major religions and belief systems developed as civilizations grew, which unified societies, but also became a major source of tension and conflict.

Different ethnic groups share their various customs, beliefs, ideas, languages, and religions creating culturally diverse nations and regions and leading to cultural integration.
Essential Questions
  • How does the learning of Islam differ from what you already thought about the Muslim community?
  • How did particular groups or institutions influence the culture during the middle ages?
  • How are the arts, economy, political, and social structure changed by the advent of the Crusades and the pandemic of the Bubonic Plague?
  • How did feudalism develop and transition into nationalism?
  • In what ways did advances in technology, education, literature, and the arts change Europe?

Describe scientific and cultural advancements in ancient civilizations (e.g., networks of roads, aqueducts, art and architecture, literature and theatre, mathematics, philosophy).
Describe the trade routes that established the exchange of goods (e.g., silk, salt, spices, gold) between eastern and western civilizations during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Describe the structure of the following governments
  • theocracy
  • dictatorship
  • republic
  • monarchy
  • democracy
  • anarchy
Describe aspects (e.g., geographic origins, founders and their teachings, traditions, customs, beliefs) of major religions (i.e., Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam).
Describe how trade routes led to the exchange of ideas (e.g., spread of religion, scientific advances, literature) between Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Explain why places and regions serve as cultural symbols (e.g., Jerusalem as a sacred place for Jews, Christians, and Muslims).
Describe the development of the Medieval kingdoms of Africa (i.e., Ghana, Mali, Songhai)
  • Islamic influences
  • mining of gold and salt
  • centers of commerce
Describe how the Renaissance was a time of renewal and advancement in Europe
  • rebirth of Greek and Roman ideas
  • new ideas and products as a result of trade
  • the arts
  • science
Identify factors (e.g., river/coastal civilizations, trade that influence the location, distribution, and inter-relationships of economic activities over time in different regions.
Describe the culture and way of life of the Arab Empire
  • Muslim religion - Mohammad, Mecca
  • extensive trade and banking network
  • interest in science - medicine, astronomy
  • translation and preservation of Greek and Roman literature
Describe the contributions or accomplishments of the following individuals during the Renaissance and Reformation
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Michelangelo
  • Gutenberg
  • Martin Luther
Identify cultural norms that influence different social, political and economic activities of men and women.
Describe the Catholic church's role in the following activities during the Middle Ages
  • Crusades
  • Inquisition
  • education
  • government
  • spread of Christianity
Describe how new ways of thinking in Europe during the Enlightenment fostered the following changes in society
  • Scientific Revolution - Copernicus, Galileo, Newton
  • natural rights - life, liberty, property
  • governmental separation of powers vs. monarchy
  • religious freedom
  • Magna Carta
Describe ways geographic features and conditions influenced settlement (e.g., near waterways, on high terrain, with adequate fresh water, on good land for farming, in temperate climates) in different periods of time, places, and regions.
Describe the transition from feudalism to nationalism at the end of the Middle Ages.
Discuss the important ideas of the Enlightenment Period that fostered the creation of the United States government (e.g., Natural Rights, separation of powers, religious freedom).
  • Analyze, compare and contrast medieval social roles.
  • Demonstrate using geographic tools how religion spread through Europe.
  • Summarize how the combination of church and state caused political unrest.
  • Evaluate the effect of the renaissance on subsequent events in Europe (reformation, exploration, Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution).
  • Describe the contributions of
    • Leonardo Da Vinci
    • Michelangelo
    • Gutenberg
    • Martin Luther
  • Describe the major economic, social, and political developments that took place in Medieval Europe. (growing influence of the church, feudalism, development of private property, emergence of modern economy, effects of the black death)
  • Debate the extent a pandemic can disrupt a society.
  • Analyze the attempts to maintain and increase political, economic, and social status quo with the crusades.
Content/Core Ideas
  • Differences between belief systems and disputes over lands associated with religious groups have created tension and conflict between peoples.
  • The cultural and scientific contributions during the middle ages lead to the modern age of civilization.
  • The Catholic Church was a driving force behind the Crusades while the rise of Islam challenged the Catholic Church’s authority.
  • The Renaissance, Reformation, and the Age of Enlightenment had a significant impact on the culture of Europe and America.
  • Changes in thinking were brought about by the Enlightenment period.
Academic Vocabulary
  • feudal System
  • cathedral
  • Crusader
  • Crusade
  • knight
  • Reconquista
  • burgher
  • lord
  • serf
  • peasant
  • guild
  • Magna Carta
  • Renaissance
  • humanism
  • vernacular
  • moveable type
  • indulgence
  • heresy
  • Protestant
  • Reformation
  • caravel
  • astrolabe
  • circumnavigation
  • armada
  • Catholic
  • patriarch
  • monopoly
  • Islam
  • Muslim
  • Mosque
  • Qur’an
  • Christendom
  • Monastery
  • Medieval
  • manor system
  • feudalism
  • icon
  • longship
  • loyalty
  • plague
  • manor  system
  • missionary
  • saga
  • scientific method
  • self-sufficient
  • territorial expansion